Search

UPDATE: Duchess of Cambridge ‘saddened’ by death of prank call hospital nurse found in Marylebone

16:23 07 December 2012

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby in the summer. File picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby in the summer. File picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The nurse who put through a prank call from radio DJs to Duchess of Cambridge’s private hospital ward has been found dead in Marylebone. She has been named as Jacintha Saldanha, 46.

Ms Saldanha was found collapsed and unconscious at an address near the King Edward VII Hospital Sister Agnes in Beaumont Street, Marylebone, shortly before 9.30am today. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene in nearby Weymouth Street.

Jacintha is said to have been the nurse manning the hospital’s switchboard when Australian radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales, fooling her into putting them through to the ward where they were given a condition update on Kate, who was being treated for severe morning sickness at the hospital.

Police are treating the death as unexplained at this early stage, and her next of kin have been informed.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this afternoon said they were “deeply saddened” by the death.

The statement from St James’s Palace added: “Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

The Palace later stressed: “At no point did the Palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”

The hospital said in a statement: “We can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.

“Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and a well-respected and popular member of staff with all her colleagues.

“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital has been supporting her at this difficult time.”

Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much-loved and valued colleague.”

Lord Glenarthur, the hospital’s chairman, said: “This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.”

The Australian radio presenters, from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the “easiest prank call ever made”. The station was expected to issue a statement about the death later today.

The DJs made their call at around 5.30am on Tuesday and are thought to have been put through to Ms Saldanha. The prank call was deeply embarrassing for the hospital, which is the medical institution of choice for the royals.

Mr Lofthouse said on Tuesday: “I’ve received advice that what the Australian broadcasters did may well have broken the law. On the other hand they’ve apologised for it so we’re going to have a long and careful think about what, if anything, we do.”

The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.

In their initial apology the two presenters said: “We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents.

“We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues and we’re glad to hear that Kate is doing well.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.

“It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

17:44
Community campaigners, including Tom Conti, protested outside the site of the proposed new Tesco in Belsize. Picture: Polly Hancock

A campaign backed by a number of high-profile actors to prevent Tesco from opening a new store in Belsize Park has ended in victory after the supermarket chain announced it had abandoned its plans.

17:15
Blogger Laila Swann has been chosen from 750 hopefuls for the unique job

A young Hampstead woman has beaten more than 750 hopefuls to a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” that will see her sent around the world to date men from different cultures and pick up the world’s best dating tips.

12:25
Eric Joyce in police custody.

Disgraced former MP Eric Joyce has avoided jail having been convicted of attacking two teenagers in an “unjustified and unprovoked” assault in a Camden shop.

16:25
Thomas Radice, a trustee of the Proms at St Jude’s Music & Literary Festival

The Proms at St Jude’s Music & Literary Festival will offer attendees more than just music and literature.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder